Achieving financial goals is more attenable for people that carefully plan out specific steps and put them into action. It is good to save money, but the constant rise in the cost of living necessitates investing, documentation, and tax planning.
October is Financial Planning Month, and it is a great time to either get started on or revisit this important topic.
A 2017 Gallup poll revealed that only 38 percent of investors had a real financial plan; they were otherwise investing without much direction at all. One reason is because the world of finance can be intimidating for many, especially for those who do not understand how things really work.
Building wealth is a goal for investors but doing this without direction is like driving to an unfamiliar destination without a GPS. Once the decision is made to start planning, short-term and long-term goals should be considered initially by estimating how much money is needed for certain things.
For example, a parent can set the goal of paying half of their child’s college expenses during a set four-year period; a couple can wish to have X amount of money available when they retire. The list goes on.
Building a Plan
Once the goals are determined, the next phase is taking stock of debts and assets. Paying off debt and having an emergency fund should take priority. Three to six months of expenses should be earmarked in case of emergencies. The cost of high-interest rate debts can curtail financial goals, so it is imperative to chip away at the debt as much as possible without touching the emergency fund.
If there is no plan in place, consulting with a professional financial planner is recommended, although many investors start off on their own. Running decisions past an accountant will help plan for any tax implications, which if unaddressed, can eat away at savings.
Younger investors might feel comfortable assuming more risk, since they may have more years to roll with market changes. Older investors should consider whether taking risks is appropriate.
Investing in a 401(k) plan can be a great option for employees, if their company offers them. Most will match employee contributions. This is considered to be a guaranteed return, which is a no-loss investment.
Put it in Writing
Another aspect of financial planning is having the proper paperwork. Everyone should have a will. Life insurance, estates, trusts, and retirement plan documents should also be in order and reviewed yearly, to see if any changes need to be made. This is also a good time to review the financial plan.
Many people are able to cut down their living expenses to decrease debt and increase their savings and investment funds. As the market changes, additional investment opportunities that might be very attractive could also open up.
West Chester Wills and Estates Lawyers at Eckell Sparks Will Help You Get Your Affairs in Order
When it comes to will and estate planning, it pays to plan smartly and carefully. Putting these important tasks off until it is too late is a serious mistake. Do not wait; call a West Chester wills and estates lawyer at Eckell, Sparks, Levy, Auerbach, Monte, Sloane, Matthews & Auslander, P.C. for counsel on all matters regarding wills and estates. Reach us today at 610-565-3701 or contact us online to discuss your case. With offices in Media and West Chester Pennsylvania, we proudly serve clients throughout Delaware County, Chester County, Montgomery County.